Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Footloose”–thank you, Kenny Loggins

I have to admit that I’m filling somewhat with trepidation in planning and executing all these trips. Sicily, Krakow, Lviv. They all require organization extraordinaire. Now, everyone knows how organized and anal retentive I am. However, sometimes I wonder if I’m starting to lose my faculties. These trips are starting to intimidate me.

Even though I’ve traveled around the U.S., all throughout Europe, and have even been to Dubai, I find myself more and more unnerved about travel. There’s a reason for this. Let’s look at recent history.

In January 2013 I had just finished spending the holidays in Dubai with my brother and his family. My brother and his ex were encouraging me to stay for a couple more days. They felt it was foolish to return to Oregon on a Wednesday and then work for two measly days before the weekend hit. They tried to talk me into staying so we could all go snorkeling in Oman.

I begged off because I had promised my colleagues I’d be back. Well, I missed my flight because I stood in the wrong line at the airport. My brother and I later fought to get me on another flight back to America. We found a flight through Munich. When I got to Munich, the plane sat on the tarmac for three hours before we switched planes due to a mechanical problem. I arrived home with a pinched nerve that had me in agony for weeks.

Last year I stupidly neglected to research the distance for the airport I was taking out of Paris. I took a cab to get there and it cost me $205. My flight was late to Rome so I missed my flight to Amsterdam resulting in another $339 ticket. In Amsterdam I forgot my laptop and, in my hysteria, missed my flight back to North America resulting in the purchase of another ticket for $1800. I ended up staying in Amsterdam for two more days meaning hotels and food.

Last summer, while traveling through Europe with my bud, Barry, I was so engrossed in writing while taking the train from Rome to Florence that I missed the Florence stop and went all the way to Bologna while Barry wandered the terminal looking for me. Took me three hours to get back to Florence.

You see why I’m getting antsy? I never used to have these problems. I can only attribute it to getting older and more forgetful or more careless or more stupid or more….you fill in the blanks.

So now, for these trips to Sicily, Lviv and Krakow I must take a bus to Rome and calculate when to arrive in order to catch my flight out. Will I need to arrive the night before and get a hotel in order to make my flight? What about on the way home? Will I arrive in Rome too late and have to get a hotel because the last bus will have left? More money, dude. More organization, dudette.

And, of course, in planning for Krakow and Lviv, there is the problem of flight times. Both cities are not main hubs in Europe. Their respective capitals, Warsaw and Kiev, are. This means scheduling appropriately. It also means working with the people who are hosting me in these cities through Airbnb so I don’t arrive too terribly late and inconvenience them.

It’s enough to drive a person to drink. Thank God Italy has plenty of wine.

Considering all the other cities I want to explore, I hope that this fear I’m creating doesn’t prevent me from enjoying myself. Everything is so close here in Europe that the mind boggles. I’m giddy with excitement over the possibilities. I am a little cautious about ultimately visiting places like Istanbul, Tunis and Casablanca. But if I stay in the tourist areas, around other westerners, I should be safe. Of course, terrorists target tourist areas… But if I go off the beaten path, I could get, well, beaten on the path…hmm…

Prices are excitingly reasonable. Most of them are around two hundred dollars round trip. Some are a fraction of that, if I take Ryanair, the bastard airline that screwed up my flight between Paris and Rome last year. They arrived three hours late. Left a bad taste in my mouth so that now I’m reluctant to use them. Will they suck again?

No matter what, I’m still enjoying being footloose.

 

 

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